1. Are you a current member with account or password issues?

    Please visit following page for more information

    Dismiss Notice

Question about UK knife laws

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by neutrontech, May 25, 2011.

  1. neutrontech
    • In Omnia Paratus

    neutrontech Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    1,753
    This is meant with no disrespect, and I am not trying to start a nationality flame war, I am just curious about something.


    It is my understanding that locking blades are a safety feature. In that case, why then would the UK make them illegal? Why would they choose to make carrying a safe knife a crime, and opt to make legal a potentially dangerous tool? With such strict laws meant to protect it's citizens, you would think that the ONLY legal knives would be locking. Am I missing something? Or is this just typical bureaucratic government hog wash?
     
  2. jag-engr
    • Administrator

    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,673
    Likes Received:
    4,264
    Well, before this thread gets out of hand and it is locked, which will probably happen in short order, here's my understanding....

    Fixed blade knives are illegal to carry by the letter of the law, but folding knives are not. In one particular case, whether for judicial expediency, some personal agenda, or just plain ignorance, a judge ruled that an individual carrying a knife in one instance was carrying an illegal blade, since, once the weapon was locked open, it was "essentially a fixed blade". Once that ruling was made, it became de facto law and was reused repeatedly before anyone stopped to think about it.

    Additionally, from my understanding, a large percentage of the UK's violent crimes are committed by youth gangs who, whether in fact or in popular opinion, carry knives as their weapon of choice. Therefore, most people are willing to accept the government's stance that knives are "evil weapons of imminent doom" and gladly surrender anything that could be even remotely pointy or sharp.
     
  3. Stutoffee

    Stutoffee Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    2,308
    Likes Received:
    166
    As a "lock" has to be disengaged to fold a locking-folder, it is classed as a "fixed blade".
    The UK certainly isnt the only place to class the carrying of "locking knives", (without good reason - camping/outdoor pursuits, work-use) as illegal.
    I appreciate that youre NOT trying to start a flame war, but there are plenty of countries (and US States!) where the knife-laws arent markedly different from those of the UK.
     
  4. neutrontech
    • In Omnia Paratus

    neutrontech Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    1,753
    I understand that laws vary and the UK isn't the only place where this is illegal, I just figured since it is the most talked about location, more people would be familiar with what I was talking about. No offense intended, and I apologize if I appeared to be singling the UK out.

    So basically, it is because the knife becomes a fixed blade when locked? I guess that makes sense if you are thinking about it from a legal perspective in a place where fixed blades are illegal. I just think that laws need to be looked at with more than one angle, but most countries (U.S. included) have very narrow minded people creating laws and frequently abuse their power to push their own agenda.

    As far as criminals using knife's as a weapon of choice, my opinion (which may certainly be wrong) is that they prefer knives because guns are so difficult to get. If the government chose to make all knives illegal, and consequently difficult to obtain, then improvised knives and stabbing instruments would take their place. Then even they managed to criminalize hand tools, and other items that could possibly be modified, then rocks would be used. So, while it may be true that people think this way, I don't feel it's a valid reason to willingly give up the right to have knives.

    I really feel that laws intended to protect us, which also happen to take our rights away, are laws that we can do without. We should never give up liberty for security, it's a ruse by governments to control it's citizens. The US has laws that fit this criteria as well, so please don't feel like I am bashing anyone's country.

    Knives are tools first. I can see how people would think otherwise, but I don't understand how multi tools can be seen as a weapon before a tool. I personally think that even with tough knife regulation, multi tools should be excluded, as they are in a class of their own.

    Again, I want to point out that I do not want this thread to get out of control. If I have offended anyone please let me know and I will offer my apologies. I just find it interesting how laws and views vary from country to country, and even different places within the same country (ie. Look at New York). Thanks for the information and that does clarify the thinking used when those laws were created, whether I agree with them or not.
     
  5. RiotSnake

    RiotSnake Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    18
    No offence taken, I hate our knife carry laws in this country. Like most responsible people I see a knife as a tool first and hate having to carry a non-locking blade, just doesn't feel right after being brought up to respect a knife and see the locking of a blade the safest form of protecting the person using it. Cant see our laws changing any time fast though, unless they get more strict...

    RS.
     
  6. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,881
    Likes Received:
    1,213
    It is one of those laws that was not necessarily written as such, but through precedent is now.

    To be a EDC legal carry in the UK a knife must be a folding pocketknife with blade of less than 3". Fixed blades therefore are illegal as EDC as they are not folding knives.
    Locking folding knives are not specifically mentioned in the written laws, but it was previously decided in the courts during a case involving a locking blade that while it is possible to fold it, when open with the blade locked in position a folding knife is effectively a fixed blade, and then illegal. Since this case set precedent on the matter, unless someone can create a good enough case against the decision to challenge it and overturn it, that is the law on the matter.

    I may be remembering it wrongly, but I believe part of the decision was based on the use of a knife as a weapon - a fixed blade is an effective stabbing weapon, while a folding blade risks closing on the user if resistance is encountered, and as such is not classed as being as dangerous.

    The exemption does exist for an EDC illegal knife when carried appropriately with specific purpose - for example a chef carrying a set of knives, builders using a blade in their work or an outdoors enthusiast carrying a blade when camping or practising skills in the woods are all justifiable and legal, presuming the chef doesn't then take his knives on a detour to a rough pub on the way home...

    I think the big problem nowadays is that with a move away from practical jobs and hobbies to a more office based lifestyle, knives (and the knowledge to use them) is becoming less and less common here, and at the same time the media are doing a great job sensationalising them as weapons - so instead of the everyday person being familiar with knives and their use as tools, they have a new mystique as dangerous weapons. Certainly here with guns near enough banned knives have taken over as the most prominent weapon heard of, but at the same time restricting and banning them will only limit happy law abiding people like us from utilising them, and the guys who want to do harm will find a way, as they do now getting hold of whatever knives are available (I would put a bet on that most crimes are committed with a kitchen knife rather than a locking tactical blade, and that there is no way to ban everyday tools like kitchen knives) or move to whatever alternative they find - there is no way to remove every improvised weapon - from kitchen knives, tools like hammers or spanners that make great blunt force weapons or even just a fallen branch taken from a tree, there is no way to curb items being used as weapons without putting us all in bubbles.
    IMHO a fairly limited and stupid that prevents me from carrying what I want, and really does little to actually stop the problem.
     
  7. vegassprky
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner
    • In Omnia Paratus

    vegassprky Loaded Circuits

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    11,578
    Likes Received:
    63,699
    Maybe remove or elect new politicians that are more knife as a tool friendly. Make using ANY object as a weapon in the commision of a crime a way to tack on more time in prison. Punish the criminal not the ordinary citizen. No this would'nt work makes too much sense! Sorry I brought it up.
     
  8. Stutoffee

    Stutoffee Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Messages:
    2,308
    Likes Received:
    166
    No offence taken here either.

    It IS indeed ironic that people who carry knives as tools (like me! A SAK Champ) who would benefit from the safety of a locking-blade over a slip-joint, cant carry the "safer" choice because of the law.
    Admittedly, I WOULD have a defence for carrying a locking-blade as my knife is used at work (usually for nothing more glamorous, windswept or interesting than opening boxes or cutting up cardboard!) but I like to be able to carry my chosen EDC knife ANYWHERE without having to have a "resonable excuse".

    The other irony is that many of the lowlives out there who DO commit knife-crime are far more likely to use a kitchen knife, Stanley knife or some piece of junk, cheap n cheerful folder.

    The knife laws (like many laws) affect the decent, law-abiding citizen most of all.
     
  9. renzo1320

    renzo1320 Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0
    you should be glad. where i live you are not allowed to carry any knife anywhere anytime. not even pepper spray because it's a "weapon".not even a vic classic
     
  10. EZEE

    EZEE Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    2
    we have that law here its called the offensive weapon act iirc, which basically covers the intent of the object carried(pretty much saying its for use as a weapon).

    the info offered in the tread is how i understand as it works, and i believe that when they wrote the laws covering knives that the spirit of it was to allow people to carry locking knives but the wording allowed for for case law and precedent to be set against it.
     
  11. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,566
    Likes Received:
    137
    The law only forbids fixed blades, but some slimebag lawyer argued that a locked folder is same as fixed blade, and some dumb judge agreed, so it's a court precedence. No one ever bothered to challenge it so it's stuck.

    Not the first time laws are twisted way beyond their original intention.
     
  12. Pack Lemming

    Pack Lemming Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its not illegal if the law isnt looking for it.

    As for the reasons behind the laws here ill try to explain Why.

    Folding knives can still puncture in a stabbing motion remarkably well without hinge failures, this makes them able to penetrate thicker garment materials such as leather, denim and in some cases body armour - that is what alarms law enforcement and its pencil pusher branch,the legislators, who as the Home team have an obligation to look out for the safety of their Away officers. This reason above is also why Fixed Knives are regarded as offensive weapons when taken into the public domain - they could render the health and safety measures that UK law enforcement officers and bureaucrats have struggled to secure over the years inoperable, the protective duty vest.

    Also with the cheap and abundant supply of "out the front" Stanley tradesman knives which have limited penetration ability and structural failures inbuilt (weakness of the blade's tip (<1.milimeter thickness), the snap apart segments & the fragile (often made of plastic these days) sprung locking mechanism) the law is designed in such a way as to not hinder the workman - but it is making the pocket cutlery market very difficult to exist within.

    I have tons of the old Stanley retractable tradesman blade holders here, the old vintage metal ones with brass thumb studs through to the newer 100% plastic cased & lock mechanism versions. The law as always is covering its own behind before looking out for the welfare of the civilian.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Pack Lemming

    Pack Lemming Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Indeed, I was reading the online zine GQ today, the fashion advice and life Guru section. Contained there in was an alarming amount of idiocy and poser nonsense. Without going into too much detail, thousands of words in that Men's magazine are spent on overpriced neck ties and manicuring nail scissors by the Guru's yet when it was asked about buying a Gentlemen's knife the worldly modern man guide answered 'all you really need is a break down cork screw'.

    So it would seem the consensus is found both sides of the Atlantic but with differing motives.

     
  14. Prætorian ®

    Prætorian ® Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    645
    Likes Received:
    87
    I stayed a few months on different occasion in UK in the last three years. This thread reminds me of a news event back in London where crime was at an all-time high, common folks were carrying blades for personal protection. From SAK's to a bustcher's cleaver (yes, a full meat/bone cleaver), the police had random crackdown on most crossing points. At that time, people were just being told off, because arresting them would cram the local PD stations with illegal weapons carry.

    It was both scary and amusing that the police actually had a stack of blades in different sizes and proportions you would think it was WWII again and people were contributing to build munitions and armor.

    I miss the UK :D Seriously, I do!
     
  15. Cheyenne

    Cheyenne Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    I live well outside London (UK) and travel in nightly to work. I listen to talk radio because it keeps me alert on the journey and it's often very interesting. But in the news not one single night goes bye when I don't hear of a stabbing in London. Last night there was yet another in Tottenham, which was less than half a mile away from where I was.

    Fixed blade knives and lock knives are easier to commit acts such as this with... A normal person can see the use and safety of a fixed blade when it's used as a tool, but the law only sees it as a weapon that a dysfunctional person can use more effectively.

    Laws on knives don't need to be tightened because no law in the world teaches basic respect for life to people who can't even respect themselves. :(
     
  16. Pack Lemming

    Pack Lemming Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dysfunctional people are those who have been living in a state of disbelief for the last 27 years as they have not been concerned about the Laws, rather the successful nature of them in identifying crimes that are then relayed in mainstream media.

    The whoppers are ;The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, along with the ;Offensive Weapons Act which has been modified for the mollycoddled masses more times than Lolo Ferrari has had silicone upgrades.

    Many people in the UK are aware of an action called Knife Crime but very few are experienced on what that term actually means.

    Would I be wrong assuming you are content with the anti-smoking laws that are getting to Godzilla or rather Cloverfield sized proportion in the UK and now New York with regards to self respect and long term personal health and hygiene standards. FWIW I love the occasional cigar and have smoked for 15 years.

    Source
     
  17. 5534

    5534 Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Without getting into the whole safety / personal freedom Ect debate. I have carried a non locking legal blade for about 15 yrs on most days it's an old battered victorinox. When I need mote tools I carry a leatherman pst 2. My knife is a tool and not a fashion statement I dont care About the brand or how it looks only that it cuts when needed
    I have never needed a blade over 2.5 inches in an urban / semi rural setting and have never had any safety issues with a folding blade because I was taught correct handling from about 8 yrs old ( a knife is for cutting not prying screwing Ect)
    For every day use In an urban / rural setting a small knife even a non locking one is fine. Use the correct tool for the job.
    If you need a bigger knife regularly then you are probably fine to carry it. It is only a tool if you carry a knife as a fashion statement then you are carrying it for the wrong reason and probably the sort Of person who should not be allowed to carry one
     
  18. neutrontech
    • In Omnia Paratus

    neutrontech Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    1,753

    Wow. The problem is this; what right does the government, or anyone else, have to tell me what I can and can't carry as long as my intentions are benign? If I have no intention on harming anyone or myself, I should be allowed to carry a He-Man sword on my belt. I realize that no one truly knows what my intent is, however, I'm innocent until proven guilty.

    Why? Am I hurting anyone? Do I care if other people's ignorance of knives causes them to be afraid? No and no. So why shouldn't I be allowed to carry one? I carry a flashlight in my pocket too. I don't really need such a high lumen flashlight. All I really need is a fauxton. Is that wrong too? I mean, a higher powered light could be used as a weapon. I carry it because I like it and you never honestly know when you might need it. Same with a fixed blade.

    I'd like to add that I don't carry a fixed blade on my person, but I do carry one in my bag.
     
  19. Pack Lemming

    Pack Lemming Empty Pockets

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rights have nothing to do with Rites and who runs the lunatic asylum. The rules are listed in numerous places neutrontech, and should they not be clear enough you can or should be able to ask a walking law dictionary (Police Officer) to explain in what ever dialect of English you should choose, what it is that they mean.
    If only those who are so passionately head strong as to support this current system could explain where it is they derive the sponsorship for and the implementation of this authoritarian entity known as British Law. Of course backed up with indisputable proof in the same fashion they would present evidence in your, or my, or Joe Blogs prosecution for being found in the public domain with an offensive article, to a Judge in good standing that is not party to their established sponsorship.

    Nothing beats the illogical circular narrative if it is allowed to insulate itself from outsider peer review.
     
  20. neutrontech
    • In Omnia Paratus

    neutrontech Loaded Pockets

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,982
    Likes Received:
    1,753

    I was just providing my personal opinion (in response to 5534's personal opinion) of how it is wrong to assume what someone is going to do, based on what they have on them. Some things are obvious I guess, but knives are not. Knives are tools that have been around since the beginning of time, and one should not assume it is a weapon. Knives are also very beautifully designed, so why would it be so wrong to display one as a fashion accessory? Again, I carry mine in my bag, not on my person. I carry it, not as a fashion accessory, and I would almost never probably need it in my line of work. However, you never know and sometimes it just is the right tool for the job. And yes, I have used it. After work I have spontaneously decided to go geocaching in the woods, and used it to make a walking stick. So, you really do never know.